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May 13, 2014

Cop who Tased Alzheimer's patient won't get job back

Indiana Supreme Court rules notto hear case

INDIANAPOLIS – A former Peru police officer’s nearly two-year legal battle to get his job back after he Tasered a nursing home resident is at an end.

The Indiana Supreme Court earlier this month ruled it would not hear the case of Gregory Martin, who in 2012 Tasered 64-year-old James Howard, a resident at Miller’s Merry Manor Nursing Home in Peru who has advanced-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

The final decision by the court means Martin will not get his job back.

Martin deployed a Taser on Howard for 31 seconds in a 65-second period after officers and nursing home employees said Howard was combative and wouldn’t obey commands to enter an ambulance to go to the hospital.

The Peru Board of Works terminated Martin in August 2012 after determining he used excessive force in the incident.

Martin filed an appeal to the decision, claiming the city should award back pay, wages and benefits accrued since he was fired.

Cass County Superior Court II Judge Rick Maughmer ruled to reverse the board’s decision. He said in a written order there was no evidence to support the board’s finding that Martin used more force than was necessary under the circumstances.

Maughmer said Martin utilized the Taser in an effort to minimize injury to Howard, and followed police policy that determines the use of a Taser.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed that decision in September, saying in a written order Martin went against police training requiring officers to avoid using a Taser on an “elevated-risk population” unless necessary and justifiable.

The court said deploying the Taser five times for 31 seconds on an “elderly naked man in a nursing home, imminently destined for a hospital” didn’t allow time for Howard to comply with police orders and greatly increased the chances of serious injury or death.

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